27 February 2024

What is going on?
On Thursday morning, the 29th of February, Parliament will vote on whether to pass the revised Copyright Amendment Bill. If passed it will be sent to Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa to sign into law.

Why is it a problem?
The President referred the Bill back to Parliament in 2020 due to fears that many of its provisions may very well be unconstitutional – as it would deprive individuals of property rights, as well as being in breach of the international copyright treaties of which South Africa is a member.
The revised Bill still has most of these flaws.

Why should authors and other creatives be concerned?

•The Bill creates broad justifications whereby copyrighted content can be appropriated withoutpayment or permission.

•The Bill makes it justifiable to copy and distribute copyrighted content if it’s meant for educationaluse – imagine the impact on authors with prescribed books.

•The Bill creates justifications for removing the DRM on eBooks – imagine what this will mean fordigital piracy.

These are just a few of its issues. The flaws in the Bill are so numerous and damaging that it has led to entire books on the subject by concerned copyright experts and submissions to Parliament spanning thousands of pages.

In short: The creations of South African creators, of all disciplines, will enjoy less legal protection than anywhere else in the world and our economy will lose billions – due to loss of income, job losses and the loss of any incentive to create and innovate.

What can you do?
Sign the petition, and if you are willing, send a quote expressing your dismay to [email protected] to be used in its awareness campaign alongside other like-minded organisations.

Why is this meaningful?
Individual voices carry a lot of weight and are harder to deny than that of faceless organisations, especially at the moment when the President will be putting pen to paper. Also, if this matter does end up in the Constitutional Court, they are less likely to find in the favour of a party that never previously expressed their concern.

Please join us in this fight and make your voice heard!

Link to the petition: https://www.change.org/p/south-african-authors-urge-the-national-assembly-reject-the-copyright-amendment-bill

Media enquiries contact Jean Pieters at [email protected]